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Wilmington Trust to Merge with M&T Bank Corporation - Effect on WTDirect?


Wilmington Trust announced today that it will merge with M&T Bank Corporation. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Its merger with Wilmington Trust will extend M&T’s community banking franchise, and add to its market-leading positions in Upstate New York, Central Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region. M&T will acquire 48 branch locations in Delaware and 225 ATMs, and there is no overlap between branch networks. Following completion of the merger, M&T will operate approximately 800 branches and 2,000 ATMs in eight states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada.

M&T expects to gain approximately $8.3 billion in deposits and $8.1 billion in loans from the merger (before acquisition accounting adjustments), giving M&T the top deposit share and a leading commercial lending position in Delaware.

For us savers, the noteworthy issue is that WTDirect is a division of Wilmington Trust FSB which is part of the bank holding company Wilmington Trust Corporation.

The worrisome issue for us savers is that M&T Bank hasn't been kind to its internet savings accounts. One of its internet divisions, OnBank, used to have a competitive savings account in 2008, but in 2009 the rate plummeted to 0.50%, and it's still 0.50% as of today. M&T Bank also offers the e-Money Market from its main bank website. Its rate also fell to 0.50% in 2009 and it remains at 0.50% as of today.

It's still too early to know how this merger will affect WTDirect. According to the press release, the merger is expected to close by mid-year 2011. After that I'm sure it'll take many months for the conversion to take place. Even after the merger, it's possible that M&T Bank will let WTDirect to continue without change. We'll have to hope that will be the case.

Even though WTDirect's savings account hasn't offered the best interest rates, it has remained competitive (1.21% APY for $10K+ as of 11/01/2010). Many customers joined to take advantage of the previous new-account bonuses of up to $500. Readers have reported that they not only received the bonus, but they were also offered an additional interest rate after the bonus period as an incentive to keep their money at WTDirect.

In my September WTDirect poll I asked how many WTDirect bonus customers planned to keep their money at WTDirect after the 3-month promo ended. Out of the 32 who responded, 14 said they planned to keep all of their money that they had deposited for the May promo at WTDirect. The extra interest rate was one reason, but high-quality customer service was another important factor.

However, not all readers have been happy with WTDirect, one reader gave a review noting the long 4-day delay for standard bank-to-bank ACH transfers. Also noted were issues with the website design and the login interface.

I described many of WTDirect's online banking features in my May review.

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
What are the implications regarding the current bonus that was promised for establishing a savings account with a defined sum (i.e. $100 for a $10,000 deposit)?
Fred   |     |   Comment #2
 Wouldn't worry about the bonus. you'll get it.

 Wilmington  has been shopping itself for a long time, and the latest round of incentives was an attempt to bring in more deposits to make them attractive.


 The only question was price, and they didnt get a very good one. Not an issue for depositors, but shareholders got clocked

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Provident Bank merged with M&T and the rates took a big drop as a result.
adityanm   |     |   Comment #4
According to posts in your Forum, its website is not user friendly and there is no sense in keeping account open once you have colected the one time bonus.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
Anonymous #3, that was in 2008-2009, when rates dropped precipitously everywhere...
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Those of us that left our money in WTDirect after we received the bonus have now had the interest rate bumped up to 1.41% as of 10/15/10.  Do you suppose the rate will remain at 1.41% or should a person consider withdrawing those funds soon? 
Sandra McG.
Sandra McG.   |     |   Comment #7
M&T has terrible customer service which probably won't improve with this development. Absolutely terrible.
Jim davis
Jim davis   |     |   Comment #8
 Just got a set of fancy Wine Glasses (in a Tiffany Box) from these guys. Nice gift I will be regifting since I'm not that fancy.
adityanm   |     |   Comment #9
I  too got my glasses even though I had closed my account.
Eric   |     |   Comment #10
I think it's great that they can afford to offer us Christmas gifts, but I hate the Tiffany things.  Why not send customers a gift card that could be used at various chains?  Or just put the equivalent value back into my savings account.
CapitalClimate   |     |   Comment #11
WTDirect is already slashing rates.  The current rate displayed on the home page is 0.76%.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
M&T’s is NOT FDIC insured.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
My account is finally available on M&T website today. M&T sucks. I want to close my account but they asked me to send in a notarized letter for that. So I'm going to just withdraw my money through bank to bank transfer, which I have to pay $3 per $10,000 transfer each day. It sucks.

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